Body found near Grand Teton was that of Gabby Petito, Wyoming coroner confirms

Petito was killed, the coroner determined. Her cause of death is pending.

(North Port Police Department) Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito. Petito, 22, vanished while on a cross-country trip in a converted camper van with her boyfriend. Investigators say she last contacted her family in late August 2021 when the couple was visiting Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. Officials on Tuesday confirmed that a body found Sunday near the park was that of Petito.

The Teton County coroner’s office confirmed Tuesday that the body found Sunday near Grand Teton National Park was that of Florida woman Gabby Petito, who was reported missing Sept. 11.

According to a news release from the FBI, Teton County Coroner Brent Blue determined that Petito’s manner of death was homicide. Her cause of death is still pending final autopsy results. She was 22.

Petito’s body was found in the Spread Creek camping area of Bridger-Teton National Forest, on the eastern edge of Grand Teton National Park. She had last contacted her family in late August, her mother has said.

Petito’s fiance, Brian Laundrie, is considered a “person of interest” in the case, police in North Port, Florida, have said. The couple lived there before embarking on a monthslong, cross-country road trip. Laundrie returned to Florida alone on Sept. 1 — 10 days before Petito was reported missing.

Laundrie has refused to speak with investigators and left his parents’ home on Sept. 14, wearing a backpack and reportedly headed for the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve. North Port is about 13 miles southeast of the reserve. A search for Laundrie resumed there on Tuesday, but concluded at 7 p.m. EST with nothing of note found, according to North Port Police. The search will resume on Wednesday.

(North Port Police Department) Law enforcement officials conduct a search of the vast Carlton Reserve in the Sarasota, Fla., area for Brian Laundrie on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.

On Monday, police had announced that, after spending the weekend searching the reserve, they had “exhausted all avenues in search of the grounds” and planned no further large-scale searches there. No explanation for the turnabout was given.

The FBI on Monday also served a search warrant at the home that Petito and Laundrie shared with his parents. Investigators removed cardboard boxes full of evidence and towed a car from the home. Laundrie drove a Ford Mustang to the Carlton Reserve. A relative picked the car up there on Thursday and drove it back to his parents’ North Port home.

Laundrie’s parents, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, were removed from the home and detained by FBI agents during the search. They have refused to speak with investigators, aside from reporting that their son had left for the reserve. They have not seen nor heard from him since, they said, and they filed a missing person report for him on Friday.

A candlelight vigil to “celebrate the life” of Petito is planned for 7 p.m. at Sugarhouse Park on Wednesday.

Earlier this year, Petito and Brian Laundrie left Florida together in a camper van, visiting sites across the West. Petito chronicled their journey on social media, posting photos and videos at stops including Utah’s Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, Zion and Arches national parks, according to Petito’s Instagram account, @gabspetito.

(Moab Police Department) Brian Laundrie talks to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with his girlfriend, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021. The couple was pulled over while they were having an emotional fight. Petito was reported missing by her family a month later and is now the subject of a nationwide search.

On Aug. 12, Moab police responded to a “domestic problem” involving the couple that was later categorized as a disorderly conduct incident, records show. Officers took neither Petito nor Laundrie into custody but separated the couple for the night, driving Laundrie to a hotel and leaving Petito with the camper van so they could “relax their emotions.”

Twelve days later, the couple checked out of a Salt Lake City hotel Aug. 24 and reportedly headed for Wyoming.

The FBI is seeking information from anyone who may have used the Spread Creek camping area between Aug. 27-30, or who may have seen Petito, Laundrie or their vehicle in the area. More information and tips can be submitted through the FBI’s Seeking Information page.